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Fire Technology

, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 1113–1128 | Cite as

Forensic Analysis on the Cause and Origin of the 2009 Indoor Shooting Range Fire in Pusan, Korea

  • Youngjin Cho
  • Youngsu Kong
  • Seunghun Sa
  • Changho Choi
  • Donghwan Kim
  • Jaemo Goh
  • Namkyu Park
  • Donmook Choi
Article

Abstract

A fire took place in an indoor shooting range in Pusan, Korea, causing 15 deaths and 1 injury. To determine the cause of the fire, field investigation and laboratory analysis were conducted, and the point of ignition was determined through closed-circuit television (CCTV) imagery. Residues of ball powder, balloon, and stray bullet were found at the point of ignition. Moreover, the polyurethane slabs installed for sound absorption on the walls and ceiling surrounding the point of origin were found to lack any flame resistance. In tests of gunpowder ignition on the surface of the sound absorbers, the material ignited readily and the fire spread rapidly. Through analysis of CCTV at the time of ignition, any source of ignition related to human intervention could be ruled out. Considering the fact that ignition started immediately after shooting and the rubber plate for stray bullet protection had fallen off, we conclude that the most probable scenario is that a stray bullet landed on the sound absorber at the point of origin and ignited ball powder accumulated there, thus starting the fire. As a result of shooting 50 rounds of bullets, most bullet fragments dropped within 2 m of the bullet trap whereas two stray bullets reached 4.6 m and 1.3 m from the point of ignition. It was revealed that people at the indoor shooting range did not have sufficient time to evacuate. Although the fire lasted for a short time, victims were exposed to high temperatures, making visual identification difficult.

Keywords

Indoor shooting range Polyurethane sound absorber Gunpowder residue Stray bullet Fire cause 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youngjin Cho
    • 1
  • Youngsu Kong
    • 1
  • Seunghun Sa
    • 2
  • Changho Choi
    • 2
  • Donghwan Kim
    • 3
  • Jaemo Goh
    • 4
  • Namkyu Park
    • 5
  • Donmook Choi
    • 6
  1. 1.Physical Engineering Division, Gwangju InstituteNational Forensic Service (NFS)Jangsung-gunRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Physical Engineering Division, Seoul InstituteNational Forensic Service (NFS)SeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Forensic Safety Division, Forensic Engineering DepartmentNational Forensic Service (NFS)Wonju-siRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Gwangju InstituteNational Forensic Service (NFS)Jangsung-gunRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Forensic Engineering DepartmentNational Forensic Service (NFS)SeoulRepublic of Korea
  6. 6.Department of Fire & Disaster Protection EngineeringGachon UniversitySeongnam-siRepublic of Korea

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